Wherein Michael Ruse Avoids My Questions
If Darwinism [sic] implies atheism, does teaching it [evolution] in school become unconstitutional?
In other words, Ruse is saying that if a parent objects to what a child is being taught in science class, even if the teacher does not make a specific religious claim, that scientific claim thus becomes a religious claim and becomes unconstitutional.
I stood up and asked the following:
“If evolution implies atheism, or is being made to imply atheism by Dawkins as you claim, and is therefore unconstitutional to teach in school, 1) what about all the other sciences that underpin evolution, in particular geology, which caused great anguish among people that I knew, 2) isn’t science going to have implications for anyone who pre-emptively makes a cosmic claim without evidence, and 3) hasn’t Dawkins in particular repeatedly made the point that the essential conflict is between evidence versus credulity, or faith, rather than just evolution versus Christianity?”
That is a question. I asked him a question. Michael Ruse waved it off and said, “We’ll put that in the ‘comment’ section.” Then he went on to accuse Eddie Tabash of “lacking integrity” because Tabash pointed out that science in the public schools is not taught to attack anyone’s religion but to present knowledge backed by evidence that people need to have to be educated.
Then, Michael Ruse drew the analogy that a science teacher who taught evolution without mentioning the Bible or God, but nevertheless caused a conflict within a student who was indoctrinated by creationism, was attacking that student’s beliefs (actually that student’s parents’ beliefs) and therefore violating the Constitution!
Using this argument, Michael Ruse then compared the above science teacher to a teacher who taught the students that “some animals with certain genitals are inferior to other animals with different genitals,” and then claimed, “Oh, I said nothing about men and women! I didn’t teach one was inferior to another!” Now, I ask you, is that analogy apt? Considering I was the only woman who asked a question, and it didn’t get answered?
Well, a man asked him if a teacher taught that the value of pi was 3.14 but a parent believes that it is three (as it is in the Bible), if the teacher was, according to Ruse, violating the Constitution. Ruse said yes! (Then he attempted to spin it and accused Tabash again of being dishonest.)
Then he said, “I agree with Eddie Tabash! I don’t want The Flood taught in schools!” ignoring the obvious fact that, by what he claimed above, any teacher teaching geology would, according to Ruse, be attacking theology, rendering the teaching of geology “unconstitutional” and allowing that parent to block the subject or remove the child.
Michael Ruse then went on and on about how “basic Christianity doesn’t require people to literally believe in the Bible.” Hell, I’d like to know who these “basic Christians” are. As a teen-ager I had to explain to someone in my life that the earth was round and orbited the sun. I got into arguments with the other kids about how my agate, which I found when I was nine, was formed. I argued and argued against “creation science” in the 1980s. One coworker, when she learned that I was an atheist (I was nineteen and waitressing in Maplewood), gasped, flung herself across the room away from me, then recovered a bit and asked, “So you believe in evolution?” No DUH!
As we were walking out, Ruse opined, "Well, I suppose there still could be people who use the Bible to justify slavery," and I called out, "Yes, there are!" Geez, hello Ruse! In fact, the ID folks are arguing that Darwin's anti-slavery conscience enslaved people all the more!
How the hell can Michael Ruse compare a teacher teaching evolution in class and not adding “and this is why the Bible is not true” to a teacher teaching that females are inferior to males?
What is wrong with this man? Why does he pick this fight, when in fact the denizens of the Discovery Institute are taking all religious language out of their literature anyway, in their efforts to shoe-horn intelligent design in schools? (“Teach the controversy…” “Strengths and weaknesses…” “Critical analysis…”) Ruse must really be out of touch!
This is a class issue. This is about social class, and how can Ruse understand that? He probably never missed a spring break in Florida or Cancun. (I waitressed, or just stayed home, over my spring breaks.) Education is about providing greater class mobility, whether or not the graduate goes on to make gobs of money. People are not just geocentrists and flat-earthers because they're fundamentalists - they can also be Democrats, union workers, generally liberals, yet geocentrists and flat-earthers because they're uneducated.
Being hampered by unnecessary, superstitious fear, or guilt, or repulsion of certain ideas (such as being related to apes) limits a person’s ability to view evidence. As Orwell said, whoever controls the past controls the future. Creationism is a nice little pastime for those who are well off (and I would add that Ruse’s question is also a nice little elitist paradox for him to enjoy because he never had to waitron his way through college), but it has real consequences for people less fortunate.
Creationism doesn't make people feel "special," it scares them to death.
Yet what I'm hearing (because Ruse's "teaching" has implications too) is that it doesn't matter to him whether or not I was educated at all.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Discovery Institute actually took up his argument, and start using it as well.